I had the privilege of judging the American Legion’s annual Oratorical Contest on January 14 at Post 193. I would like to extend a hearty congratulations to Brianna Kennedy, who gave a prepared oration on "Breaking our Vows" comparing our promises in life to the US Constitution. She also gave an impromptu speech on the 16th amendment of the US Constitution regarding taxes. I can honestly say I was blown away by her performance and really impressed on the depth of Brianna's delivery, her presentation regarding the facts and her insightfulness on the US Constitution. I have no doubt that Brianna, a student at Spring Hill High School, will be a wonderful future leader.
Last Wednesday I attended the Midlands Mayors Regional Forum where we focused on the Municipal Association of South Carolina’s Advocacy Initiatives for the coming year. The Municipal Association will work with members of our General Assembly to support legislation that will best serve all municipalities regarding funding for our roads, simplifying the attainment of business licenses, and supporting full funding of the local government fund. In fact, we passed a resolution in support of these initiatives at our council meeting last week, and I will be inviting our local legislators to join other legislators to meet the first part of February and discuss these advocacy issues. I'm looking forward to having a face to face discussion with our representatives and state senators in an effort to have more input in the current legislative agenda.
Speaking of our most recent council meeting, we did pass several ordinances and zoning amendments related to storm-water enforcement, mobile food and retail vendors, an updated unified development fee schedule and changes to the business license ordinance. We tabled approval of our updated town code until February so council members could have more time for review. We need to pass this updated codification of our town’s laws so we can post the online version to our website. This will make it easier for council members, staff and most importantly, our citizens to see what our laws and regulations are for Chapin. I am hopeful that we can make progress on this in February.
Prior to the council meeting, I had the pleasure of meeting with Noah Fultz, a young Chapin boy scout who is working on his citizenship badge. He asked some great questions about the duties of the mayor and what were the pressing issues facing the town. He seemed to have a strong understanding of public service, and I was impressed by his thoughtful questions. It’s always humbling and gratifying to meet with our young people about the role of government and ways to make our town better. This is something I didn’t anticipate being involved with when I was elected, but I appreciate its importance every time I get a request to speak with an individual, class or group.
I understand that almost 300 people turned out for the public hearing on Columbia Avenue (S-48) at Our Lady of the Lake Church last Tuesday. The information that was presented, including a video demonstration of the diverging diamond interchange at the interstate, are included on the SCDOT’s website under the Public Hearings page as well as on our town website (www.Chapinsc.com ) under Roads Update. You have until February 1, 2017, to submit your public comments on the proposed route and I encourage you to make your voices heard.
Next month, I will have the pleasure of joining Columbia Mayor Steve Benjamin and five other mayors from the Midlands Regional Mayors Forum to dine at Za’s on Devine with young professionals at the Columbia Opportunity Resource (COR) event, Table for Six (TF6), on Feb. 9, 2017. I am excited to have this opportunity to network with these aspiring leaders and talk about the importance of public service in our communities.